Why I’m Afraid These School Shootings Will Never End
Just because I’ve been quiet doesn’t mean I’m not affected. I’m know I’m not alone, everyone I know feels the same way. I’m mad. I’m sick. I feel like yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs.
These school shootings have to stop.
But yelling and screaming won’t help. The problem is, I’m not sure what will….
I went back and read the piece I wrote days after the Vegas shooting – and I feel much the same still. All of those months ago I was resolved to not let one sick man’s actions get me down and I didn’t. But here we are again, and for some reason it feels different this time. Man, am I sick of these damn school shootings. But it’s not just me, it seems like we’ve collectively hit a breaking point.
But how do we stop them? How do we stop one more kid from dying? I have no idea. So I’m doing what I do…I’m reading and I’m writing. Trying to make sense of it all and trying to figure out what this one mom can do.
I know I can send thoughts and prayers but while they are important, super important, but I’m afraid they aren’t a tangible solution. I know I can reach out to my representatives, express my opinion, make my voice heard, but frankly Washington feels like a lost cause. And sadly, I’m not totally sure what I’d even ask for at this point. I know I can allow my child to walk out of school in solidarity with the kids from Parkland and likely I will. But it isn’t enough.
So I keep pondering, keep talking, keep reading, hungry for information, hungry for opinions, and hungry for answers.
I stumbled on a great article in the National Review, “New Gun Laws Won’t Stop Mass Shootings, but People Can.” I’m not even sure why I read it, because I do believe some reform will help (seriously, does our average Joe really need an AR-15 or AK-47?) but I also believe people can help. And more importantly, I’m really trying to be open to any and all ideas about this crisis. There was one line that struck me, “It is the duty of a free people to be aware, to have courage and to care about one another.” YES! It went on about having the courage to speak up if there are warning signs. YES! This is stuff I can get behind. Our stressed out, heads down, device obsessed world is ruining the very fiber of what makes us human – meaningful relationships. How can we have a meaningful relationship and care about one another if we can’t even talk to one another?
I read another story on MSN about a teacher who every Friday asks her students where they want to sit, not because she wants to change their seats but because she’s trying to understand her students and identify those kids who aren’t connecting with others, those who may need help. YES! So many of these people committing these ugly crimes struggled in school – could one attentive teacher have made a difference? Maybe. Let me be clear, I’m not faulting teachers, clearly there were parents, classmates and a community around these kids, but maybe all of us could be more proactive about observing, listening and helping.
How about mental illness? It’s certainly a part of the conversation, but let’s be real, mental illness spans the planet and other places don’t have this same issue, at least on this scale. So I come back to the guns…
There have been countless stories claiming it’s not guns that kill people, people kill people. Yep that’s true, but clearly there are people getting their hands on them who shouldn’t. The Washington Post did a piece last October about about Australia’s reaction to the worst mass shooting in their history, what they did about it and what’s happened since. Common sense stuff it seemed like to me and stuff that made a difference. I know, I know, we’re not Australia, our laws, our history, our countries are different but it seems to me their ideas are at least worth considering.
Then there was the article in The Atlantic by the radiologist who had the devastating task of looking at film from some of the victims in Florida and comparing the destruction caused by each. This was a good one and further supports my gut feeling that something has to be done about the guns. But not necessarily all guns just those that were designed for the military with the sole purpose of killing people. Let me be clear people, I don’t want to take away your guns, I respect the 2nd amendment with the best of them, but times have changed and maybe we should too.
And then there are those that call for arming our teachers. I get it but it’s a ridiculous idea. My sister is a teacher and while I know she’s as sick of this as the rest of this, I know she wouldn’t want to be armed. Sure, consider allowing willing teachers to conceal carry after some serious vetting, but don’t make it a requirement of the job.
How about the idea of putting metal detectors at all schools – another idea I get. As it’s been pointed out, we have them at stadiums, we have them at government institutions, we have them at the airport, but something about schools bothers me. Not to mention is sounds expensive. Yes, I know, our kids’ lives are priceless, but this isn’t a practical idea.
Speaking of schools, I do love the father who addressed the president after his daughter was killed and suggested tackling the project of fixing our schools separately of gun control. Can they be separated? I’m not sure they can, but I sure like his thought process. Truly I think that’s what we all want, safety for our kids. The comfort of not worrying about whether this morning’s I love you would be the last.
Gradually my thoughts are coming together, but honestly, I’ve been terrified to put my opinion out there. Why? Because we’ve become a society of nastiness. We’ve become totally intolerant of those who we don’t see eye to eye with. And frankly people can be just mean. No wonder we can’t fix this problem, we can’t even have a civil conversation.
And maybe that’s the root of our very problem. We have evolved into a society where we don’t connect with people anymore, at least not in a real way. We hide behind technology and throw grenades at each other without any regard to other people’s feelings. One of the great things about this country is that we are all able to have our own opinion but can we work on respecting each other’s? Maybe if we would just stop talking and start listening we could make some real progress.
Is that too much to ask?